Taos Academy (TA) is a state-chartered school serving grades 5-12 in the high alpine desert of rural northern New Mexico. The TA ECHS program will allow students a step up in the rigorous process of attaining a bachelor’s degree by giving them a structured pathway and support needed to graduate high school with an associates degree as well as a clear vision and plan to obtain a bachelor’s degree or enter the workforce. The current structure of our school offers an academy-style College Link program which allows students to take dual credit courses at the local UNM–Taos Campus. Our partnership with UNM-Taos is approaching 9 years and has allowed us to establish a robust dual-credit course catalogue for our high achieving high school students.
The academy model ECHS program we have designed and envision for our students at Taos Academy distinctly outlines various pathways students can take to receive an associate’s degree or certification by the time they graduate high school with no additional cost to our low-income population. Because of the economic outlook in Taos County, where retail, healthcare, and food and service are the largest employers and have the highest percentage of 5-star jobs available, we have chosen to focus on building our students’ pathways using these areas as a focus.